I enjoy shooting the trophies for tennis tournaments. I like trying different moves, shots and editing techniques that keep the pieces fresh and watchable for the viewers/fans. This year I tried three new things. In addition to using a MoVi M5 gimbal to capture a pushing in shot, we tried in-camera light leaks using a prism. I would wave the prism in front of an 85mm f/1.2 lens. This creating transition points and ideally a classy bit of visual interest. To get the mountains to move behind the trophy, we used a 70-200mm lens on a 42″ Rhino Slider with the Rhino Arc. This combination allows an operator to program a specific move so that the subject (the trophy) always remains in the same position in the frame, but the background spins. This is called a parallax effect. To further compound the amount of movement in a shot of an object that is typically static, I brought a motorized weight-bearing turntable. The turntable spun the trophy in place while the camera slid along the track turning to create parallax.
I love the view of the San Jacinto Mountains from the tennis garden. The colors and the light change throughout the day. That view has such great depth. The supporting non-trophy broll in this piece was shot using the Inspire 2 drone paired with a 45mm lens. The X5s camera is a crop sensor, there’s a 4k crop too and then when you push into a 4k ultra high definition image for a 1920X1080p timeline, it means you’re essentially flying smooth shots with a 200mm lens. It’s one of the most effective and versatile ways to get telephoto aerials. Indian Wells is one of the best places to fly.
The western showdown music is also a track that I licensed and have held onto for years in the hopes of using it at Indian Wells eventually.
Similarly to what I have done for Wimbledon, this year we had players watch iPad video of themselves during a pivotal time at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Roger had an epic rally with Lleyton in the early 2000s. Isner became the #1 American at IW. Jack Sock won the doubles title in 2015. Petra thoughtfully recalled being injured, missing the tournament and the large poster fans signed wishing her a successful recovery. Lastly, Elena Vesnina remembered when she was in the press conference after winning the single’s title in 2017. A man came up and took the trophy. This was Matt Van Tuinen, the director of media for the tournament. The men’s final was going quickly and they needed the only trophy back on court for the ceremony. We had Matt return to take the iPad from her during the filming of this memory. Elena got the meta joke and took it really well. She ended up posting the memory video to her personal Instagram profile where it reached 22,000 views.
This series was moderately successful. The epic point with Roger and Lleyton is genuinely amazing tennis archival footage. Roger provided some solid play by play for us. The other memories were released sporadically but remain on the tournament website as a bingeable series.
Also of note is that we shot this series in an interview room filming in 4k ultra high definition using the 1DXii. We lit the subjects using Arri Skypanel S30-c LEDs. The hedges with the flowers were brought in by the onsite florist to fit the full bloom theme.
To rotoscope video is to trace over each frame creating a cartoon. The cartoon bares a remarkable photo-realistic quality because that’s exactly what it was derived from. For this piece, the tournament was hedging that Federer would win a fifth title at Indian Wells. I was hired to spend a week tracing frames of video to create the animated sequences within the below piece. The hand drawn quality is intended to immediately catch the viewer’s attention. Rather than an average action highlight, the video should transcend to be a more memorable piece. The tracing and animating took approximately one week. The video was completed pre-tournament. The footage of Federer winning was inserted right after it happened on the last day of the BNP Paribas Open 2017.